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Mugu, Exchange, Big Dome, Pop Top, Sandstone Peak

Did some Sierra Club lower peak house cleaning on 4/16 in the Malibu area.

I started the morning at the Chumash trail turn out just off the PCH and did the one hour round trip to Mugu Peak. Because of the marine layer, there was no poster worthy sunrise and not much to see.

Malibu Lagoon from Mugu Peak

After finishing Mugu Peak, I drove to the Sandstone Peak trailhead off Yerba Buena road. On my first visit to the Sandstone area last year, I failed to reach Exchange Peak by missing the use trail. I was back to right that wrong and pick up the other peak I missed, Big Dome.  I started up the trail and went straight to Exchange, passing three peaks I hit last year. This time, I found the use trail without any difficulty.  Nothing beats good satellite prep. The use trail was narrow and wound around to the west side for an easy class 1 ascent. I found a battered benchmark, but no register anywhere on the long peak.

Nearing Exchange Peak

Looking down from Exchange Peak, Tri-Peaks on the left, Big Dome center

Some kind of battered benchmark on Exchange Peak

The Sierra Club route to Big Dome goes around Tri-Peaks, but it looked closer to go cross country from the Mishe Mokwa trail. I looked for a break in the chaparral along the trail to head toward it. Once off trail, I found a dry creek bed and headed up. It was mostly clear of obstructions, through an occasional yucca or strand of poison oak would temporarily divert me out of the creek. Eventually, I reached a clearing where I could climb to the saddle, then the top of Big Dome. I still had time, so I headed toward the unofficial peak Pop Top, just across a ravine. I gave up some elevation, then gained it back on the other side where a well defined use trail took me to Pop Top in about 15 minutes. From that vantage point, a nice looking use trail heading to Tri-Peaks, the one mentioned in the Sierra Club route, was visible and looked more appealing than going back the way I came.  I circled around Tri-Peaks and found the trail back, though I passed my junction by a few tenths of a mile. I can't seem to get out of the Sandstone area without making a mistake. With still more time available, I visited Sandstone Peak (my second summit, but first for the day) and signed one of the three registers in the cubby below the monument. I got a few photos from the area high point, then called it a day.

Heading to Big Dome, Pop Top on the left edge

Up the dry creek

Exiting the creek, on the side of Big Dome

Pop Top from Big Dome

Cliffy ridge behind Tri-Peaks

Collection of lower peaks from Sandstone Peak summit
Uncle Rico

The last time I was out there I missed the use trail to Exchange Peak as well. With a shuttle or someone to drop you off, you could cobble together a point to point starting at Yerba Buena Road and then following the Backbone Trail into Sycamore Canyon then up over the ridge into the La Jolla Valley, summit Mugu Peak and then spit out along the PCH via the Chumash Trail. The alternate would be to drop down La Jolla Canyon and emerge along PCH at Thornhill-Broome State Beach where you could BBQ and camp for the evening. Or you could shorten it up and emerge at Sycamore Canyon where your ride could have cold cerveza and a campsite waiting for you.  Very Happy

Uncle Rico wrote:
Or you could shorten it up and emerge at Sycamore Canyon where your ride could have cold cerveza and a campsite waiting for you.  Very Happy

You obviously make better hiking plans than me. When I got back to the Chumash parking lot off PCH, it was completely full, before 7 AM on a Wednesday.  Popular place.

I saw lots of Navy dudes coming up as I was coming down.  One said "Good morning, sir", which I thought was due to my combination of officer-like confidence and good looks, but later realized was because I was at least twice his age. Forum Index -> Other SoCal Ranges
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